Organizations in the News

Kenya’s breakthrough with biotech: Embracing GMO potatoes for a better future

Kenya’s recent agricultural initiatives include the adoption of genetically modified organisms to address climate change and food security issues. The article by James Kamuye Kataru discusses Kenya’s significant step towards innovation with the introduction of a late blight resistant biotech potato, developed through a collaboration involving KALRO, the International Potato Center, and Michigan State University. This advancement aims to increase farmer incomes, reduce fungicide use, improve crop yields, and set a pioneering example for other agricultural nations.

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Global spotlight on potatoes: May 30 to celebrate the first International Day of Potato

The FAO will commemorate the first International Day of Potato on May 30, 2024, an initiative led by Peru. Recognizing the potato as the world’s third most consumed crop, the event highlights its importance in global food security and nutrition. While production has risen 10% in the last decade, there remains untapped potential for poverty and hunger reduction. FAO will launch awareness campaigns and encourage sustainable practices among stakeholders and native communities.

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UPGC Report: Western provinces lead surge in Canadian potato storage holdings

The February 2024 UPGC report shows Canadian potato storage holdings have risen by 8.2% from last year to 74,031 million cwt. Western provinces report higher stock levels, particularly in processing, while eastern stocks are down due to a wet season. Inventory in the processing sector has notably increased, but the seed sector shows slower movement. Total January disappearance aligns with 2023. Monitoring continues regarding U.S. market impacts and high processing inventories.

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Americans’ love for potatoes: More than just a side dish

A study by Potatoes USA shows that 22% of Americans eat potatoes multiple times weekly, revealing their cultural significance despite health perceptions ranking them low among vegetables. Spanning various ethnic groups, potatoes are considered a foundational food, with 53% of adults deeming them culturally important. Moreover, Americans appreciate potatoes for their taste, cost, and nutrition, with 72% recognizing their good value.

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EU faces dire potato seed supply challenges for 2024 growing season, prices soar

The EU faces a challenging 2024 for potato cultivation with a seed shortage due to a 10,000-hectare decrease in seed-producing areas. Belpotato.be reports average yields and larger seeds with fewer tubers, compounded by viral issues and poor harvests due to rains. Seed prices are rising sharply, affecting all potato sectors. Producers may need to look for seeds outside traditional channels, while industry-wide efforts are needed to stabilize seed cultivation for sustainability.

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Irish and European potato markets: Resilience in the face of rising costs, tight supplies and seed scarcity

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports that the Irish potato market remains strong despite rising costs and seed scarcity, with sustained demand in home consumption, retail, and food service sectors. Irish potato farmers are grappling with the dual pressures of rising costs and limited availability of seed potatoes. This situation is is a reflection of a broader European trend. Tight supplies across the continent have led to a significant increase in costs, putting additional financial strain on farmers.

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Potato Association of America’s 2024 Annual Meeting: A blend of science, scenery, and sustainability

The Potato Association of America (PAA) announces its annual meeting from July 21-25, 2024, in Portland, Oregon. The event will focus on advancements in potato breeding and sustainable practices, offering discussions on pest and nutrient management, among many other topics. Participants will also enjoy the cultural and natural attractions of Portland. Further details on participation are available online.

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Challenging times for European potato growers: NEPG reports significant losses and uncertain future

The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) reports substantial losses for potato growers in 2023 due to poor weather and high costs, with 11,000 hectares and 650,000 tonnes affected. Despite this, global harvest rose by 5.1%, with varying regional impacts. Growers struggle with production costs, risks, and certified seed shortages, while processing demand remains high. This leaves the sector under stress, seeking a balance between supply and challenging conditions.

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Navigating new horizons: The Canadian potato industry’s outlook for 2024

At the Canadian Potato Summit, UPGC’s Victoria Stamper presented an insightful analysis of the potato industry for 2023-24, highlighting a record high potato stock and shifting production trends, with a 7.2% storage increase. Canada’s potato production reached a new peak with over $1.5 billion in sales value. She discussed challenges like surplus storage, quality management, cost pressures, and shifts in consumer preferences. Opportunities for Canadian exporters in the global market, especially in Europe, were emphasized.

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EU faces pressure to defuse mounting anger as farmers protest across Europe

Europe’s farmers are protesting against what they consider are unfair and contradictory policies, disrupting daily life with demonstrations across France, Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria due to the climate crisis and policy responses. Protests escalated after a tragic accident in France and are poised to continue with potential nationwide action, expressing long-term frustration over environmental policy applications and subsidy removals.

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Europatat Congress 2024: Shaping the future of the potato industry in Brussels

The Europatat Congress returns to Brussels on May 23-24, 2024, focusing on “European Potato Trade in 2030: a sector in transition.” Industry leaders will discuss environmental, economic, and social challenges, and innovations within the sector. The agenda includes reviews, a General Assembly, and a public conference amid European elections, offering networking opportunities enriched by social events. Potato professionals will soon be able to register at the congress website.

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Leading the charge: Ms. Robbie Davis announced as Ambassador for the 2024 World Potato Congress

Potatoes Australia Ltd. has named Ms. Robbie Davis as the official Ambassador for the 12th World Potato Congress in Adelaide, 2024. Ms. Davis, with her extensive industry background, including a previous CEO role and board directorships, will leverage her expertise to promote the event. Her responsibilities include advocacy, industry engagement, and media relations. Her aim is to foster unity and innovation within the international potato community at the Congress.

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World Potato Congress Inc. calls for nominations for prestigious Industry Awards

Dr. Peter VanderZaag of the World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC) has announced the opening of nominations for the 2024 Industry Awards, recognizing lifetime achievements in the potato sector. Nominations require a 250-word justification and contact details, submitted by March 27, 2024, to the WPC Executive Director. Nomination submissions is set for the close of business on March 27, 2024. Recipients will be announced at the upcoming World Potato Congress in Australia in June 2024.

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‘Tackling challenges head-on’: Exploring trends and triumphs at Ontario’s premier potato gathering

The 2024 Ontario Potato Conference and Trade Show, organized by Dr. Eugenia Banks, will address critical issues in the industry. Keynote speaker Gary Secor will tackle late blight, while Mark VanOostrum shares grower challenges. The event includes a dynamic Trade Show and afternoon sessions on soil health and soft rot management. Attendees can gain CEU credits and free parking. Online registration will open soon, and the Ontario Potato Board encourages participation. Contact Dr. Banks for details.

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How zero tillage potato cultivation is empowering women and transforming lives in Bangladesh

The International Potato Center has introduced a groundbreaking method for potato cultivation in coastal Bangladesh: zero tillage using rice straw mulch. This innovative technique addresses environmental challenges, promotes economic growth, women’s empowerment, and improved rural livelihoods. By recycling straw as mulch and not disturbing soil structure, the method enhances soil fertility, reduces carbon emissions, and allows for saline-tolerant potato cultivation, leading to increased agricultural productivity in challenging environments.

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Innovations and insights to be unveiled at the 2024 Potato Business Summit in Austin, Texas

The 2024 Potato Business Summit, set for January 10 in Austin, Texas, will feature key industry leaders discussing market trends, economic outlooks, and technological advancements in potato cultivation. This event, a precursor to the Potato Expo, offers valuable networking opportunities for stakeholders in the potato industry, focusing on both the European and North American markets, consumer dynamics, and the future of potato farming and marketing.

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Celebrating the Spud: United Nations declares International Day of Potato

The United Nations General Assembly has declared May 30th as the International Day of the Potato in recognition of its role in global food security, nutrition, and sustainable farming. This landmark decision was spearheaded by the World Potato Congress Inc. and the Government of Peru, emphasizing the potato’s crucial contributions to food security, poverty reduction, and the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers and value chain actors. The inaugural International Day of the Potato will be on May 30th, 2024.

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Uniting forces: Europatat issues global call for information on projects aimed at wireworm control in potato production

Europatat, the European Potato Association, has made a global appeal for collaborative action against the spread of wireworms, a notorious pest impacting potato crops worldwide. Recognizing wireworms as a persistent threat causing substantial economic losses, the organization calls on researchers and industry experts worldwide to reach out and share details on ongoing or envisioned projects and initiatives aimed at the management of wireworms in potato production.

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The potato’s role in food security: FAO welcomes decision to celebrate International Day of Potato

The UN has designated May 30 as International Day of Potato in a bid to stress the vegetable’s global importance for food security. The move was initiated by Peru and builds on the International Year of Potato, observed in 2008. As a versatile, climate-friendly crop that is both nutritionally and economically valuable, potatoes play a pivotal role in addressing global hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

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Facing a tough potato season: NFU’s Tim Rooke addresses the crisis and calls for industry cooperation, pragmatism

Tim Rooke, chair of the National Farmers Union’s Potato Policy Group, has reported an exceptionally challenging potato lifting season in the UK, the most challenging in living memory due to high rainfall. These conditions have raised concerns about potential potato shortages. However, Rooke reassures the public that supplies should be sufficient for the festive season. He urged the potato sector to utilize every potato, despite shape or size irregularities, and called for an immediate relaxation in potato specifications.

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Global potato markets in flux: Insights from Canada, the U.S., and Europe

The United Potato Growers of Canada’s recent update reveals a complex global potato market. Canada’s stable production contrasts with the U.S.’s surplus and aggressive pricing, especially in Idaho. Europe faces challenges with unprecedented rainfall affecting the harvest. Surpluses in North America and difficulties in Europe present potential market opportunities. The industry is navigating these varied dynamics, with Canada and the U.S. possibly benefiting from the current global situation.

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West European potato production under severe pressure: NEPG highlights extreme weather and seed shortages

Europe’s potato harvest was negatively impacted by heavy rainfall, causing difficulties in harvesting and potential supply shortages in the NEPG countries – Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and France. Though yields were good, the wet weather left about 1.4 million tonnes unharvested, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium. NEPG warns of increased risks and costs for farmers, deteriorating potato quality, and escalating market prices. Concerns are also rising over seed availability for the Spring 2024 season due to a reduction in seed production.

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Innovations and insights at the Ontario Potato Conference and AGM: Must-attend events for potato industry professionals

The 2024 Ontario Potato Conference, organized by Dr. Eugenia Banks and the Ontario Potato Board, is set for February 29th in Guelph. Featuring a Late Blight Symposium and a growers’ panel, the conference will address 2023’s challenges and strategies for 2024. The event includes a Trade Show with new tech exhibitors. The Ontario Potato Board’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Dec 6 will feature a special zoom presentation by Dr. Nora Olsen on tips for managing compromised potatoes in storage.

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British potato industry encouraged to sign up to the first SPot Stores project

GB Potatoes, Potato Storage Insight, and SDF Agriculture have initiated the Strategic Potato Stores project to improve potato storage practices. The project, inspired by the SPot Farms model, encourages industry collaboration and practical research. It includes trials with various potato varieties and sprout suppressants, focusing on efficiency and profitability. Key activities include grower meetings, open days, and workshops in 2024, alongside evaluations of PCN-resistant varieties. This initiative emphasizes practical solutions and shared industry knowledge.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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